An Excellent Idea
Since 2004, Mount Eerie have been releasing LPs and EPs, and this year they are being kind enough to give us Pre-Human Ideas. With Phil Elverum at the creative helm, Mount Eerie are an ever changing group of musicians playing an interesting cross between indie and synth. Pre-Human Ideas aims to take the recordings off previous releases and redo them digitally. It’s an interesting concept that could just as easily end in disaster as it could in success—so how did Mount Eerie do with the challenge?
In some cultures they’d call it an epic smack-down of awesome. The first track, “ORGANS (Pale Lights),” is a little grating with its sustained, high-pitched organ chord augmented by even more high-pitched chords that form no real rhythm. If you can get through that, the rest is fun and smooth sailing. The tracks all seem to sample from a variety of genres with some grunge, jazz and techno influences smashed into Mount Eerie’s signature sound. At its highest level of energy (“Clear Moon”), Pre-Human Condition is suitable at best for low-key head bobbing at a bar and at its lowest (“Ideas Say No”), it’s easily likened to a morning after sleeping eighteen hours and then trying to walk around in shoes of steel. The subdued nature of the album isn’t a downside, though—Mount Eerie manage to provide plenty of interesting arrangements to keep you engaged, and sometimes even get you into a trance-like state.
This is a great album that showcases the value in taking creative risks. By revisiting these songs with a new, more artistically mature view, Phil Elverum and crew have breathed new life into their work. If you’re a real, big ol’ music nerd, definitely look up the originals and compare notes. What else would you rather do on a Friday night, really?